"I can't do this," I state.
I start walking. I'm not sure where I'm walking. The underground tunnels just seem to squeeze me in. It's so big down here but for some reason, I still feel so closed in. I start moving and I'm not sure where I'm going but I end up down a hallway.
It isn't until I feel Rhett grabbing me and pushing me up against the wall that I understand just how serious he is about me running for president.
"I know I'm asking a lot from you,"
"A lot?" I ask getting a little confused, "No. This is more than a lot. You're asking me to run for the president of the United States of America. I won't do it."
"At least talk to the counsel."
"I'm not the leader of the Gay Agenda. There are many. Those who are above me," he explains at that moment, "They'd like to talk to you. If you decide to run for president they will act as your campaign advisors. Please let them convince you."
I'm so confused.
"You can have anyone."
"It has to be you. You see how they look at you," Rhett states shaking his head, "They look at you like a savior."
"I'm no one's savior. I'm not a Gay Moses sent down to free his people from oppression," I explain, "I'm just a normal dude."
I turn around. I don't know how to leave here but I know that I have to get out. As I turn to walk away Rhett stops me. He runs in front of me.
"If you live in a bottle, you think the lid is the sky."
"You're quoting my essay," I state.
Rhett nods. His tan beautiful skin reflects light even in the dim lights of the underground. He tosses his tall braid that has gotten much longer over the last few years. He gives me a stare that makes me almost feel like I might just be as important as he wants me to think I am.
He walks forward and he grabs my hand. He does it in the softest way. My heart skips a beat. There is something so attractive about this boy.
"I wasn't always accepted by my father. When I was young I was bottled up. I felt like because I was gay no one would really understand me. And I wanted to be free. I wanted to be myself. I wanted to love who I wanted to love...but the lid was my sky. There was nothing above that. It wasn't until I broke out of that bottle that I realized there was so much more. I was high, Caden. I was so high that my father had no choice but to accept it because he envied that freedom. It would have been easy for me to feel resentment towards my father, but I didn't. I knew I had to go back. I reached my hand in that bottle and I showed him a better way. So I lifted him up and we flew together. There is a city up there Caden. There is a city in the sky but there are so many gay men bottled up that can't get out."
The idea of being bottled, being caged, not being yourself.
That's what this was all about.
It wasn't just gay people. There were so many straight people who were so closed minded. They were so bottled up. They really believed the lid was the sky. My essay tackled that idea. There was something more past those conservative views. Liberation meant to be free.
But who was I to break that bottle for them?
"It was just an essay."
"No. It was a hand lifting people out of that bottle and letting them know that there is a city in the sky for us. You're so high, Caden. Don't forget to reach down. Don't forget to grab the rest of us by the hand and pull us out of that bottle."
Rhett touches me. It's soft. Damn he was attractive. The weird thing is he wasn't even touching me in a sexual way. Our eyes lock. I don't know how it happens but I know that I feel this immediate connection to him.
I lean in and I kiss him.
At first he pulls back sort of shocked that I just did what I did.
"I'm sorry," I state realizing how he pulled back.
"You got the wrong idea," Rhett tells me.
Clearly I did. Rhett was muscular, attractive and had eyes that lit up the world. He should be running for president. I'm some skinny kid that had been starved and malnourished. Why would he want me?
"It's just been...so long," I state.
That's when Rhett looks at me. It might be a sense of sadness that makes him grab my hand. He might pity me when he pulls me into the nearest storage area. We are surrounded by dusty boxes of canned food and supplies.
He doesn't care and neither do I.
His clothes come off. Mines come off.
He's standing completely still looking at me naked. I worship his body staring at his muscles and afraid to touch. My dick jumps. I've never wanted anything so bad. After years of being imprisoned, I feel so tense. I just want to release.
I fall to my knees immediately and feel his cock fill my mouth. Rhett moans slowly letting my mouth fill up with him. His dick isn't hard until it hits my tongue. The warmth of my tongue causes Rhett to moan out deeply and bend backward so far that his braid almost touches the floor. He thrusts up as he does that sending his dick deep down into my throat.
"Mhmm..." he's saying.
His voice gets deep. I don't notice how big Rhett is until I'm deep throating all 10 inches of his dick. His dick slides into the back of my throat and I don't gag. I want it down my throat. I want to feel it fill my esophagus. I love the taste as he slides back out slightly and salty, thick taste of precum mixes on my taste buds.
He stands me up. He pushes his wet dick up against the hole.
"I've been waiting for you for so long," he tells me.
I know almost immediately how desperate he has been for me. He pushes himself inside of me filling me up. I don't moan. It hurts like hell. I think I've even bleeding. I don't care and neither does he. I've missed this feeling. I've missed being filled up the way he is filling me up right now. And it isn't about sex right now.
It's deeper than that.
And he goes deeper than that.
Rhett hits parts of me that I didn't even know existed. He grabs me by the waist, thrusting his dick deep inside of me repeatedly. He disregards my fragile body and shows this real need to please me. I can feel my body throbbing all around.
By the time he cums I am at the conclusion that I never had sex as good as this...not even before I was taken to the camp.
He is breathing heavy. He's still inside of me. Rhett is still holding me by the waist. I'm not quite sure what just happened between us. By the reluctance to pull out of me I'm not sure Rhett is quite sure what just happened between us.
When he does pull out he finishes what I was saying with his own expression, "Amazing..."
I'm smiling remembering all over the feeling of being free. In the camp we would be punished for something like this. We would be killed. I just got fucked by an attractive man and there was no gay punishment.
That's what this is about.
That's what all this was about.
"I'll talk to them. I'll talk to the counsel."
Rhett turns to me. The look in his eyes lights up like a kid at Christmas. I've never seen someone so happy. He leans over and he kisses me. It's not a kiss on the lips. He misses just slightly but grabs me and holds me for a second. There is so much hope there. So much damn hope. It's a little weird. It's a little scary.
But overall it's exciting. Maybe there was hope that we could make a difference. Maybe there was a true chance that we could change things.
Rhett takes me to a room. It's a big room with a bed and furniture. There are no windows in the room. There aren't many decorations but it is really clean. He stares at me the whole time and almost immediately I know that Rhett was the one who prepared this room for me. He just seems so hopeful that I would like it.
"This is...nice..." I state.
He smiles. He has no idea that I mean it. This may not be home but it was way better than the prison camp. It smelled good. It was clean. The bed was soft. That was all that mattered at this moment.
"I'll give you a chance to get dressed. The bathroom has clippers if you need to shave and clean up. There are clothes in the drawers and a suit in the closet. I'll be waiting two doors down with the counsel when you are ready," he tells me.
"Hey about...what just happened?"
"We don't have to talk about it."
"No. Listen," he tells me before biting his lower lip and smiling again like a young boy, "I really enjoyed it. I never told you but I thought you were so attractive years ago when I met you. I know we didn't spend much time together but...well...what I'm trying to say is..."
He's nervous. It's weird. Here was a guy who was attractive, popular and smart. Yet somehow I made him nervous. Was I really this legend that they were painting me out to be?
All because of one essay?
"It's OK, Rhett," I tell him.
He smiles again. It seems like he smiles often. I love it. I watch as he closes the door still with a smile outlined on that face of his. He looks so happy. There's no other way to describe it. I never thought I had the power to lighten up someone's day the way that I lighten up his.
And by the time he closes the door I feel fear.
I shower. I shave. I look in the mirror hoping that I look like my old self but I don't. My face is still way more sunken than I normally would have been. My eyes are a little yellow from jaundice. My skin isn't as smooth as it was at one time. President Storm had taken everything from me and jumping out of the shower I want to have that burning desire to repay him for what he did.
The truth is though...I don't feel that way. I feel weak. I feel like I'm going to disappoint all of these gay people looking at me like I'm Nelson Mandela, freed from prison, ready to end their suffering.
I was no Mandela. I was no Moses. I was no savior.
Rhett is waiting down the hallway. He's not alone. I notice these military men. If they are gay men it has immediately become clear that this has become very serious. There was no flamboyant behavior. These men were manly men. They were masculine, strict and clearly very much so devoted to the cause.
"Are you ready?" Rhett asks me.
"I'm nervous..." I admit.
"Don't be," he responds.
He lifts his hand up at that moment and runs it up against my face. He's gentle but stern. My stomach turns realizing that I'm going to be in a room where people would be looking at me and judging me. They would be believing I'm something that I wasn't sure I was.
"I can hardly even fit my suit," I realize laughing a little.
"You look perfect."
He looks me up and down. I almost would think he believed it by how he was he was telling me it. In the next few minutes though someone walks outside.
It's a boy...about Rhett's age. He is handsome, exceedingly so. He's white with blonde hair, blue eyes, a pale skin tone and an athletic body that shows up from underneath his pearl white suite. He is about Rhett's height. He looks healthy through all this and I immediately feel a little insecure looking at him.
"This is Michael," Rhett explains, "He's going to be working for your Campaign."
He reaches forward and shakes my hand, "I'm so happy to be working with you. I'm so happy to be meeting you. I'm a little star struck...I'm..."
"Michael that's enough," Rhett states.
Rhett literally has to pull the guy off of me at that moment.
"My campaign manager?" I ask.
Michael shakes his head, "Not quite. I'll be your head of security. Your campaign manager actually hasn't shown up yet. He's running a little late. As were you. I guess my boyfriend was keeping you busy."
I watch in horror as Michael leans over to attempt to give Rhett a quick hug. The fact that he calls Rhett his boyfriend damn near blows my mind. I look at Rhett's face and can see the horror written all over it at that moment.
He had a boyfriend and he just slept with me.
"Ex-boyfriend!" Rhett quickly corrects him a little too eager.
There is an awkward moment where Michael seems a little embarrassed. Michael was attractive. He and Rhett looked like they would be together. Seeing that it wasn't the case made me feel a little weird. Michael tries to break the awkwardness by leaning into me.
"For now," he whispers to me.
I laugh. I force it. Honestly, it's awkward as hell, to say the least. The way Michael's face blushed the way it did showed that he still had feelings for Rhett. I got it. I understood it. Rhett was drop dead gorgeous. And if Michael wasn't interested in him then how the hell did I stand a chance?
Was the sex just some way to convince me to feel better? Was it just some way to get in my head?
"Michael I'm sure he doesn't want to hear all that."
"Actually I don't mind," I state.
Michael smiling in my face wasn't the awkward bit. The awkward part is that Rhett and I just had random sex out of nowhere before coming here. I wondered if I was just one of his admirers. I remember how my sister used to look at Rhett on television. She was obsessed. She had reason to be.
"He's nervous to see you like the rest of us," Rhett tells me, pulling me across the room clearly wanting to get me away from Michael, "I'd like you to meet your image consultant Laura."
Laura is a tall transgendered woman. Seeing her she reminds me so much of Amerie. I almost cry thinking about it. My heart turns in my stomach. Laura walks forward and tries to smile at me. She smiles at me the same way that Amerie used to. It's a half smile. She looks me up and down surveying me and judging me. I can tell she has a real cynicism about me. I have to admit I appreciate it. She's the first person that isn't looking at me like I'm the 2nd coming of Jesus.
"A little skinny. We'll have to change that," she tells me through her half smile, "And god...we'll have to get you a better suit. No doubt Rhett helped you pick that suit."
"Actually it was me," Michael states.
"Jesus you two belong together," Laura states, "Soulmates."
Laura was clearly just throwing some shade but it comes across as a compliment...at least to Michael. This makes Michael smile. I feel more and more awkward when Rhett turns away from me and clears his throat.
Rhett pulls me away from Laura to meet the last member of the counsel. He's an older man. He's the oldest in the room. When he looks at me he doesn't even do a half smile like Laura? He doesn't offer to shake my hand. He just looks at me with this cold, brutal looking face and I can tell that he is not really entertained.
"He won't work," the man states.
You would think I was being spit on by how the man just look at me, turns and starts walking away at that moment.
"Mr. Collins," Rhett states, "Please wait. Caden, can you wait here for a minute?"
I didn't really think I had a choice. I don't know whether to feel insulted or relieved at what Mr. Collins says. He leaves the room and Rhett chases him out of the room.
Laura and Michael stay with me and I just feel completely annoyed at the fact that Rhett left me here with these two strangers. Laura and Michael both clearly feel as awkward as I do being left in the room. From outside we can hear a heated argument brewing.
"He's our last hope!" I hear Rhett screaming.
"He's pathetic. We need someone who will gather strength to take down Storm. You think that little brat in there is it, Rhett? You've completely lost it.
"You don't know him!"
"AND NEITHER DO YOU!"
It's Michael who realizes the door is slightly open. He walks over and closes it to muffle out the argument that is getting more and more heated outside. I'm not sure who I want to win. I know that Rhett is just defending me but I partially want whoever this Mr. Collins is to win the fight.
Michael gives me a halfway smile.
"He's like that with everyone," Michael tells me almost as though he's trying to make me feel better.
Laura doesn't seem so eager to look at me as some savior. She gives me her half smile and frankly admits, "No, he's not."
Almost an hour passes in complete silence until Rhett and Mr. Collins come back in the room. The old man clearly is not impressed by me and I don't blame him.
"I'm sorry about the...situation," Rhett apologizes to me.
"I'm a big boy Rhett, I can take it."
Rhett isn't as excited as he seemed initially. I wonder if Mr. Collins convinced him that maybe I'm not the person they thought I was.
"This is Mr. Collins. He manages this compound and helps oversee the Gay Agenda," Rhett explains at this moment.
Mr. Collins gives me the sickest look anyone has ever given me. I remember even the Constable at the Concentration camp never looked at me that Mr. Collins looked at me right now.
"Let's have a seat," Michael suggests.
We sit in the conference room. Mr. Collins sits at the head of the table. He has this mean mug on that seems to never want to go away. He looks at me with that mean mug and all of a sudden I don't feel so special anymore.
Rhett smiles at me, "Your campaign manager will be here in a minute."
I wonder who this campaign manager is and why the hell he's so late. Rhett tries to force a smile. He's trying to make me feel better about this but I'm at the point that I just feel like I want to escape. Between Rhett's hopeful stare, Michael's awkward relationship with Rhett, Laura's indifference to me and Mr. Collin's clear disgust I feel like this council meeting isn't going well.
There is an awkward silence...yet again and Mr. Collin just breaks it.
"President Storm is going to eat this bag of bones up and throw him to the wolves."
"I'm still sitting in the room," I tell Mr. Collins.
Mr. Collins continues to ignore me, "Rhett this isn't going to work. Look at this...this...thing. He's a victim. All bones. How do you all assume we are going to make this man the president of the United States."
"I've worked miracles before," Laura states.
"That doesn't make me feel better," I respond.
Laura shrugs, "No offense but Mr. Collins has a point. I assumed you would look like your pictures from years ago."
"He survived in the camp for 3 years," Rhett explains, "He has a story to tell."
"I agree," Michael responds, "People will want to hear it."
I don't know if Michael is saying this to get on Rhett's good side or if he honestly believed it. Either way I hated how they kept talking as though I wasn't in the room.
"I'm here!" I state.
I slam on the table. I don't know what gets over me when I do. All that time being silent in the concentration camp makes me feel like all I want to do is scream. So when I let it out they all look over at me as though they are a little shocked.
I'm about to apologize when Rhett smiles.
"He has spunk," Rhett states, "Didn't I tell you all? He has drive."
Mr. Collins remains unconvinced.
"This isn't the old days where people ran for president, did a few stops on the campaign trail, did a few debates and just won. This is going to be dangerous. You are an openly gay male in a country that hates you," Mr. Collins explains, "You probably won't make it to election day."
"I probably shouldn't have survived the concentration camp," I tell Mr. Collins, "But I did."
"But do you even want this?" Laura asks, "Do you really even want to be president?"
"Of course he does," Rhett answers for me.
"She was asking him," Mr. Collins steps in.
All four people turn to look at me. The question burns in my chest. Did I even want to be president? The thought of being killed on the campaign trail seemed so real. The only thing that stood between me and death is a guy who was clearly in love with someone I just had sex with.
I wasn't ready for this.
I didn't want this.
Right when I answer the door opens.
Rhett looks over at me, "This is your campaign manager."
Mr. Collins nods, "We were just discussing whether or not Caden was ready for this."
My mouth drops when I see who they want to be my campaign manager.
My mouth gets dry, "Seth..."
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